6 September 2015
Tokelau has been elected the new Chair for Polynesia at the fifth annual general meeting of the Polynesian Leaders Group (PLG) held in Auckland, New Zealand yesterday.
In taking up the chairmanship for the eight-country group, Tokelau’s leader, Ulu-o-Tokelau, Siopili Perez told leaders Tokelau is fully committed to the high-level representation and advocacy responsibilities on critical issues facing the sub-region.
“I am keen to carry out the important task that have been endorsed today in regard to addressing an inclusive Polynesian family and a more strategic political and funding strategy on climate change,” stated Mr Perez.
He promises to do his utmost to continue the exemplary work and service by former Chairs who fought with distinction on the international stage to give recognition to the needs and concerns of Polynesia.
He gave special acknowledgement to outgoing Chair and Premier of Niue, Toke Talagi for his leadership especially in promoting Polynesia’s interests internationally on the issues of climate change; and fisheries through a more vigilant surveillance programme.
Mr Perez emphasized the importance and central role that PLG needs to play in regional and international forums if Polynesia’s peoples, oceans and environment are to be protected.
“As people of the canoe with our own culture, language and traditions I look forward to working closely with my fellow leaders on initiatives to promote a closer Polynesia through air-service, telecommunications and shipping as platforms for sustainable economic development,” he said.
“These initiatives and work are key, and they need to be progressed with urgency.”
Established in 2011, the Polynesian Leaders Group (PLG) is an international governmental cooperation group bringing together eight countries of Polynesia: Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Niue, Cook Islands, American Samoa and French Polynesia.
The original concept is that PLG becomes a platform uniting member countries as a collective to seek a future for Polynesia’s people and countries where cultures, traditions and values are honored and protected. Where sustainable economic prosperity is achieved, where democratic values are observed, human rights promoted and protected as well as upholding the rule of law.
The countries would also cooperate in the fields of education, culture and language, transport, environmental conservation and climate change mitigation and adaptation, health, agriculture and fisheries, tourism, trade and investment.